Global yarn and fabric production eased over the fourth quarter, accompanied by a small increase in world stocks and a moderate decline in orders.

Statistics released by the Switzerland-based International Textile Manufacturers Federation show that the slowdown in yarn inventories paused at the end of 2000, with little change recorded in global stocks. World fabric inventories moved higher for the fourth consecutive quarter, mainly as a result of an increase in stocks in Europe.

World yarn production continued to decline during the quarter, falling by 3.2 per cent. This was attributable to an 8.9 per cent drop in US output, and a 3.1 per cent reduction in Asian production. By contrast, European yarn production rose by 5.8 per cent over the quarter. On an annual basis, world yarn production fell by 5.0 per cent and is now negative across all regions: US -8.8 per cent, Asia -4.4 per cent, Europe -0.2 per cent.

Fabric production was stable globally, declining by 0.5 per cent in the fourth quarter. The annual increase in fabric output declined to 1.3 per cent. European production levels provided a positive impact, a 6.4 per cent gain largely offsetting a fall in output in the US (-4.9 per cent) and Asia (-2.7 per cent). Compared to the same quarter last year, US fabric production has declined by 6.8 per cent, while European output has risen 1.3 per cent and Asian production has gained 7.7 per cent.

Global yarn stocks were little changed over the quarter (+0.1 per cent), but fell on an annual basis (-4.0 per cent). However, European inventories reversed their third quarter decline in the fourth quarter (+2.4 per cent), while Asian stocks fell by 1.3 per cent. On an annual basis, European yarn inventories declined by 8.4 per cent, and Asian stocks moved 1.3 per cent lower.

World fabric stocks rose 1.0 per cent, lifted by a rise in the European inventory position (+3.8 per cent). US inventories were stable (+0.2 per cent), and Asian stocks declined by 1.1 per cent over the fourth quarter. On an annual basis, fabric inventories continued to move higher, driven by a 9.2 per cent rise in European stock levels. Asia and the US experienced a more moderate stock build-up over the year, with increases of 2.8 per cent and 0.8 per cent respectively.

After barely changing during the third quarter, European yarn orders were 1.7 per cent lower over the fourth quarter. The annual increase in European yarn orders dropped to 5.9 per cent. Fabric orders declined during the fourth quarter in both Europe (-3.4 per cent) and the US (-3.7 per cent). European orders remained higher on an annual basis (+6.7 per cent), while the US fabric order book gained 1.0 per cent over the year.